Trauma survivors have to move emotional memories into longer term storage that is less emotional to help recover mentally. As many as one in four survivors of trauma may develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Reminders of the trauma, as minimal as a color or smell or name, may set off the memory pattern that can include behaviors which can be dangerous if the memory involved some threat. Soldiers may react with defensive moves or attack which can put any bystanders at risk, or people with self injury habits may react in a way harmful to themselves.
The reaction isn't a temper tantrum or taking offense at the slight reminder of color/smell/name/whatever set off the memory. It is a behavior response, a series of brain cells connected in the pathway that was learned during the trauma. Just talking about the trauma or just being reminded of it may actually make the learned response pathway stronger - and more of a risk of being set off again from reminders. Therapy that works at the deeper emotions involved can help reach those wordless emotional areas of the brain memory and may help calm the over reaction created by the stressful event or events. Music or art therapy or meditative types of therapy like EMDR may help move the memory from the emotional amygdala area of the brain into longer term less emotional areas of memory.
See "Calming Trauma: How Understanding the Brain Can Help," Phoenix-Society.org .
More about Art Therapy is available here: G1. Art & Relaxation.
More about Music Therapy and EMDR is available here: G6. Music & Movement.
Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.
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